Within days of Donald Trump’s visit in May to Saudi Arabia, his first overseas trip since becoming President, a major diplomatic feud had erupted between the monarchies of the Persian Gulf.
The dispute saw several gulf states (including Bahrain and United Arab Emirates) backing up Saudi Arabia, with the support of Egypt, to form a bloc severing diplomatic, trade and travel ties with regional rival, Qatar. Tensions between small but ambitious Qatar and its neighbours had been simmering for some time.
At the heart of this issue are some crucial differences between the gulf monarchies on matters of global economic integration, press freedom, relations with America and Iran, malleable definitions of terrorism and pressure from citizens for increased political representation.
Maher Mughrabi and Jasim Husain will discuss what the crisis says about the region in 2017 more broadly. How will the downturn in fossil fuel prices affect the political stability of gulf states? How are different regimes in the region responding to opposition groups? And what can we expect in terms of interventions (or lack thereof) from the Trump administration? Join us for a conversation about shifting alliances and regional rivalries in the Persian Gulf.
Maher Mughrabi is Foreign Editor of the Age and Sydney Morning Herald. He has previously worked at the Independent, the Scotsman, the Daily Mail and the Khaleej Times. In 2015, Arena Journal published his essay on the 'Arab Spring' and its aftermath, entitled 'Hunting Leviathan in the Middle East'.
Bahrain-based Jasim Husain is an independent researcher tracing socio-economic and socio- political developments within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain). He is a former Bahraini member of parliament. Elected in 2006 and 2010 Jasim served on the parliament’s Finance and Economic Committee.
Jasim writes weekly columns in Arabic and English concerning economic developments of the GCC states.